WEDNESDAY, 3 MAY 2017
SUBJECTS: Labor pledges $25 million to help build Rockhampton Flood Levee
JASON CLARE, SHADOW MINISTER FOR TRADE AND INVESTMENT, SHADOW MINISTER FOR RESOURCES AND NORTHERN AUSTRALIA: It’s great to be back in Rocky. Today I am announcing that a Shorten Labor Government will provide $25 million to help to build the South Rocky Levee. This is something that has been talked about for decades. It was first discussed back in 1992 when I was at university. The time for talking is over. It’s time to build the levee. Really this is a no brainer. We’ve got the Council willing to contribute $10 million dollars. The State Government will put in $25 million and we need the Federal Government to put in the last $25 million to build the levee. If Labor is elected at the next election then the levee will be built.
It really is something which is long overdue. The levee will pay for itself. The last two floods here have cost the town $40 million each. If we build the levee we won’t just stop homes from being flooded and businesses from being flooded, but we’ll create construction jobs and we’ll also create the opportunity to redevelop the area and create more jobs and more businesses here in the southern part of Rocky.
JOURNALIST: I guess the problem is that an election is a couple of years off and the Council wants to start within the next six months?
CLARE: The levee really needs to be built straight away. It could be built this year ahead of potential floods next year if Malcolm Turnbull and Michelle Landry get their act together and put this money, $25 million, in the Federal Budget. There are no excuses. We had a flood in 2011, another flood in 2014 and then another flood this year. You can’t seriously look the people of Rockhampton in the eye and say this is not needed. It is needed. If Malcolm Turnbull can give $50 billion in tax cuts to big businesses, then surely he can give $25 million to the people of Rockhampton to build the flood levee.
JOURNALIST: So, essentially if the Turnbull Government doesn’t want to give money towards this, Labor really can’t in the next two years so it may not happen at all then?
CLARE: We could have a federal election next year but the fast way to fix this is for Malcolm Turnbull to do a 180 and say yes I’ll build the flood levee. If he doesn’t do it then the only way to do it is to elect a Labor Government next year, when we go back to the polls.
JOURNALIST: What do you say to the Federal Government and the Member for Capricornia saying they need more information and more studies to be done to assess its viability?
CLARE: Well that is just ridiculous. That’s just political weasel words to explain delay after delay. We’ve been waiting for this since 1992. The time for talk is over. It’s really time for action. Michelle Landry has been elected by the people of Rockhampton to go to Canberra and fight for the people of Rockhampton. If she won’t do it then we need someone else who will. She should have Malcolm Turnbull in a head lock right now saying we need the $25 million for Rockhampton and if she won’t do it, if she can’t do it, then we need somebody else who will.
JOURNALIST: Do you understand her point of view that more information is needed or do you think that with Council saying that most residents want it, that that is information enough?
CLARE: The plans have been developed. They’ve been developed now for a number of years. The flood after flood after flood tells us that we need it. All of the work that Council has done shows that anywhere between 70, 80 and 90 percent of residents and local businesses want this. The time for talk is over. Let’s just build it.
JOURNALIST: What about a levee around the airport? There’s been talk about that. Miss Landry says that that should be a priority or even included in this mitigation plan.
CLARE: Well the Council said they’d look at that and they’d do feasibility work on that but that shouldn’t be an excuse to delay this levee. That’s what Michelle Landry is doing. She’s using that as an excuse to do nothing and potentially that could mean that this area floods again next year. Now that would be terrible if that was to happen. We’ve got a Federal Budget next week. If Malcolm Turnbull and Michelle Landry really care about Rockhampton they’ll put the money in the Budget next week.
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